New Air Force One to take flight, Pentagon announces

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New Air Force One to take flight, Pentagon announces
The next plane set to carry a U.S. president will be a Boeing 747-8, a four-engine, wide-body aircraft built in Washington state.
US President Barack Obama (L) waves as he and First Lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One prior to departing from Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One Presidential air transport a specially converted Boeing 747 called a VC-25A.
The first presidential jet "Air Force One", Airpark, The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington, USA
President Barack Obama jokes with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication, aboard Air Force One
President Barack Obama wears a AF1 jacket on his first flight aboard Air Force One from Andrews Air Force Base
The US embassy defence attache salutes as the Air Force One aircraft prepares to taxi with US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama on board at Palam Air Force station in the Indian capital New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One landing
The shadow of Air Force One with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, aboard is seen on approach to King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The president will meet with the new Saudi King, Salman bin Abdul Aziz to expresses his condolences on the death of the late Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, waves as they board Air Force One at Air Force Station Palam in Palam, India, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, en route to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the president will meet with King Salman. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
A view of Air Force One while it sits on the flight line at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
The Presidential Seal is seen on Air Force One as it stands on the flight line at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
A view of Air Force One while it sits on the flight line at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
President Barack Obama steps from Air Force One, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as he returned from speaking at the University of Kansas about the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
A pilot looks out of Air Force One before departing from Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Air Force One departs Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
The shadow of Air Force One with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, aboard is seen on arrival at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The president will meet with the new Saudi King, Salman bin Abdul Aziz to expresses his condolences on the death of the late Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Air Force One Presidential air transport flies over Mt Rushmore
US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One prior to departing Boise Airport in Boise, Idaho, January 21, 2015. Obama is traveling on a 2-day, 2-state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks to greet wellwishers before boarding Air Force One for departure from Forbes Field Airport in Topeka, Kansas, January 22, 2015. Obama returns to Washington after traveling on a two-day, two state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks down the steps of Air Force One after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, January 22, 2015. Obama returns from a 2-day, 2-state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and First Lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One prior to departing from Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One taxies after landing at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
President Barack Obama climbs the steps of Air Force One, before departure on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to Boise State University where he will discuss the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Air Force One taxies after landing at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Stan Brewster)
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By RYAN GORMAN

The Pentagon has picked the next Air Force One.

A fleet of Boeing 747-8 jets will serve as the next presidential aircraft, according to an Air Force statement. They will replace an aging collection of Boeing VC-25 airplanes.

"The presidential aircraft is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of America and the office of the president of the United States," Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement.

"The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States (that), when fully missionized, meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest."

The reason there will be multiple aircrafts is because no one plane is labeled Air Force One. The moniker is simply applied to any jet in which the president travels on at a given moment.

The decision came to down to either the Boeing aircraft or an Airbus A380, the Air Force explained.

Both aircraft were the only ones meeting strict specifications including four-engines and a wide body, among others.

The announcement did not come with a contract, those details are still being hammered out.

"This decision is not a contract award to procure 747-8 aircraft," said Col. Amy McCain, the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization (PAR) program manager.

"We still need to finalize the overall acquisition strategy and conduct risk-reduction activities with Boeing to inform the engineering and manufacturing development contract negotiations that will define the capabilities and cost."

The Air Force wants to maintain strict control over the planning and manufacture processes to allow for multiple contracts to be awarded for the aircraft's subsystems to allow it to be cutting edge for decades to come.

"We are committed to incorporating competition for subsystems of the missionized aircraft as much as practicable, and will participate substantively in any competitions led by the prime contractor," said James.

"The current fleet of VC-25 presidential aircraft has performed exceptionally well, a testament to the Airmen who support, maintain and fly the aircraft," James said. "Yet, it is time to upgrade. Parts obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources and increased down times for maintenance are existing challenges that will increase until a new aircraft is fielded.

The two current VC-25s used as Air Force One first took off in 1987 during the Ronald Reagan administration but have undergone several modernizations and retrofits, according to the Air Force.

No timetable has been provided for when the latest edition of the presidential airplane will be finished.
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